Saturday, November 29, 2014

Reasons Why I Blog

So, I think I have become a fan of the "10 Reasons Why..." genre of blog posts! I like lists in general, and I like it when other people write these kinds of posts, but it hasn't really been my style... before now. Writing the Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Teaching Online post at Medium was a really good experience for me, helping me to think and prioritize, so now I feel inspired to try this "Top Ten" approach for other aspects of teaching and working and learning. Today I will tackle an easy one: The Top Ten Reasons Why I Blog.

As you can see, some of the reasons I have for blogging are purely personal, such that I would blog even if I had no readers at all, while some of the other reasons are reader-oriented. So, if you are reading this, I thank you for taking the time to do that! And if you are reading this blog and don't have a blog of your own: give it a try! (See especially reason #7 below: it's easy!)

The Top Ten Reasons Why I Blog

1. I blog because I am inspired by other people's blogs. I probably wouldn't have started blogging without the inspiration I found from others. There are some blogs I have been reading with great interest for years and years now, like Alan Levine's CogDogBlog, Lisa Lane's Teaching and History blog, or the great group blog that is eLiterate. I'm also discovering wonderful new blogs all the time, and meeting new bloggers has been one of the best things about Connected Courses for me, which is why I am tagging this post with #ccourses. Take a look at the Connected Courses blog and Twitter stream, and you'll see what I mean!

2. I blog because it helps me think. This blog post is a good example! By blogging, I take some time to slow down, collect my thoughts, organize them, and attempt to reach some conclusions, at least for the time being.

3. I blog to remember things. My many (MANY) blogs are the best archive I have of my past work. Sometimes I need to look something up from just a week or two ago (my new series of news round-up posts has been great for that), and other times I am looking for things I worked on months or even years ago. Relying on my own memory is just not going to work, but blogs are something I can rely on!

4. I blog because I want to share the things I love. I am a person with a lot of curiosity and a lot of passion for the things I study. As I result I am finding things all the time that I want to share with others: books, images, online resources. Blogging is a great way to share things with others — and good things want/need to be shared!

5. I blog in order to help others learn new things. I blog for my students (as in the daily announcements, for example), and I also blog to help total strangers as they learn new things, like at my Bestiaria Latina blog. I miss teaching Latin in the classroom, yes, but the many years of blogging at the Bestiaria, with its hundreds of regular readers, has helped me make an even bigger impact than I could have made in the confines of a classroom.

6. I blog because blogging is easy. Even after all these years of blogging, I am still AMAZED at the way blogging software combines ease of use along with real power. I can use blogs for totally casual, ad hoc purposes (like this blog), but I can also use blogs for some serious content development, like at my UnTextbook blog site for example, or at the blogs I have created in support of my book projects, like Mille Fabulae et Una.

7. I blog because I can re-use old posts. Being able to re-use content is something that is very important to me, and blog posts naturally lend themselves to re-use. You can link to them (linking is one of the most powerful forms of re-use!), and you can also recycle them. For example, my Proverb Laboratory blog is powered by recycling. I add new content when I can (usually during the summer), but I keep the blog going strong by recycling one of my old posts each day: Waste not, want not.

8. I blog because it helps me become a better writer. True confession: I never even thought of myself as a writer before I started blogging. I didn't even like to write! But blogging has changed all that for me; because I am writing all the time now, I've grown to feel more confident as a writer and also to enjoy the writing process.

9. I blog because I work at a PUBLIC university. The motto of my university is: Civi et Rei Publicae, "For the citizen and for the republic" (i.e. for "the public thing," which is where we get the word "republic" in English). As someone who works at a public university, I feel it is my obligation to contribute to public knowledge, doing my work in the open. Blogging is the best way for me to do that. I feel exactly like the seed sower whom you can see here in the university's seal: to blog is to sow the seeds, hoping for a later harvest.

10. I blog because blogging is fun. In all honesty, I probably should have listed this as the #1 reason because I cannot imagine doing all this blogging if it were not fun. Now, that is largely because I find the things listed above fun: I think it is fun to learn new things, it is fun to share things with others, etc. Having fun is a big part of why blogging works so well for me, and if I had more time, I would blog even more — because I enjoy it! :-)

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